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One of the first archaeological explorations of Ionia was the expedition of J. Spon and G. Wheler (1675-6). George Wheler visited Greece and Asia Minor in the company of J. Spon, the French physician and archaeologist, who was the first to look for antiquities in situ, following the ancient sources. Wheler explored the area and made drawings (1682) of remains in the ancient Greek cities on the coast of of Ionia (Smyrna, Didyma, Ephesus). The subjects of the illustrations which accompany this edition of J. Spon 's voyage (1678), which is highly significant for the author's pioneering exploration of ancient sites, are novel and groundbreaking for their time. Most of the pictures are first-ever depictions of archaeological sites and remains. The Dutch edition of J. Spon's work (1689) includes illustrations of the places visited by Spon and George Wheler, which aim to recreate scenes from the two travellers' explorations.

The first map of the bay of Smyrna is found in a work of the same period, a splendid specimen of late-17th century Flemish engraving. Ol. Dapper's “Archipel” was published in 1688. Its texts and illustration were based on ancient Greek and Latin sources, portolani and isolaria as well as travel accounts and authoritative maps of the time as Dapper never travelled himself. The isolario of Fr. Piacenza (1688) includes superbly engraved maps and a wealth of material on the Aegean islands, Cyprus and the Peloponnese. The editions by J. Enderlin include copies of engravings found in earlier or nearly contemporary popular works (1686).The plates in the work by J. Sandrart (1687) show castles and other location, in their majority under Ottoman rule. Several similar works which highlight the victories of the Venetians against the Ottomans in the Sixth Ottoman-Venetian War (1684-1699) were released during the same period.  The editions by J. Peeters in the late 17th century (1686 and 1690) also exalt the victories of the Holy League in the Ottoman-Venetian wars. The plates show cities, ports and other locations in Austria, Southeastern Europe, the eastern Mediterranean and places in Asia all the way to India and Saudi Arabia.

The first views of the city and port of Smyrna are published in the work by C. Le Bruyn, in the early 18th century (1714). The artist  embellished his travel account with original subjects, executed in engravings of high artistic value. 

The same period saw the publication of the work by J. Pitton de Tournefort (1717), following the author's voyage to the Aegean sea. This edition offered a wealth of information and became an obligatory guide to travellers to the Archipelago. It also includes illustrations of Smyrna (the fortress, statues, a map of the area and a view of the city). The chronicle by P. Lucas (1720) has engravings of ancient funerary steles from Smyrna. The illustrations in the edition by J.A. van Egmont and J. Heymann (1759) show subjects already published in the editions by C. Le Bruyn. The plates in Ch. Thompson's travel account (1752) are also copies of subjects already published in earlier popular travel accounts.

J. Seller was the creator of the first detailed mapping of the Mediterranean coast, titled “English Pilot...” . First published in the 17th century, it was repeatedly reissued and continued to be used down to the 19th century (here in the 1771 edition). Seller's works established the use of the English language in maritime charts and greatly influenced later cartographic editions. It includes maps of the local shores. The rich cartographic production of the late 18th century includes the remarkable maps of P.G. Chanlaire (c. 1780), here coloured over. In the rare album of drawings in sepia kept at the Gennadius Library (Album of 18 original drawings in sepia, c. 1800), the artist conveys the overall sensation of the landscape with intensity, at the cost of details of each monument.

The Society of the Dilettanti promoted, oraganized and realized archaeological expeditions to Greece and Asia Minor until 1846, and published the outcomes of those explorations in monumental volumes. Included in their work are the drawings of monuments and architectural features from the ancient Greek colonies of Didyma, Teos, Miletus and Priene.

From then onwards travellers to the coast of Asia Minor are interested in archaeological explorations. Alongside with the ubiquitous hunt for antiquities, they published significant studies with the corresponding illustrations: R. Pococke (1745) and J. Dallaway (1799) on Teos, W. Wilkins on Ephesus and Teos (1807), P.Ol. Brönsted on Priene and Miletus (1830) and Al. Drummond on Smyrna and its surrounding area (1754). In the rare album of drawings in sepia kept at the Gennadius Library (Album of 18 original drawings in sepia, c. 1800), the artist conveys the overall sensation of the landscape with intensity, at the cost of details of each monument.

The edition by M.G.F.A. Choiseul-Gouffier included maps, views, drawings and plans of antiquities in Ephesus, Smyrna, Teos, Priene, Miletus, Didyma and Crene.  This monumental work  expressed the love of antiquity and philhellenism in a new and original way, and at the same time established the primacy of image in travel chronicles (late 18th- early 19thcentury). Furthermore, it contributed to a significant increase of the number of visitors to the coast of Asia Minor. As with his other works, in “Journal of a tour in Asia Minor”, the British topographer W.M. Leake (1824) provides systematic and detailed archaeological observations.

Otto Stackelberg was a member of a group of Danish, German and British artists,  architects and lovers of antiquity who realized archaeological excavations and explorations, and subsequently pillaged the sculptures of two major ancient monuments: the sculptures of the temple of Aphaia on Aegina island and those of the temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae. The 1826 edition by Stackelberg has excellent lithographs of the sculptures of the temple of Apollo, as well as views of the temple and its surrounding area; plates of Izmir are also included.

Both Ch. Fellows (1839) and F.V.J. Arundel (1828) visited Ionia and subsequently wrote on the subject; Fellows was on his way to Lycia, and Arundel toured the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse. The first half of the 19th century saw the publication of Albums, which included interesting views of the Asia Minor cities known as Seven Churches of the Apocalypse (Ch. Mac Farlane, 1832). The impressive edition authored by L.E.S.J. marquis de Laborde (1838) highlighted the richness of the ancient sites of Asia Minor and spurred the interest for archaeological explorations of the area.

By the 19th century Smyrna had become part of the Grand Tour, which was almost mandatory to wealthy Europeans, as part of one's education and as a sign of social status. Consequently this period offers abundant graphic material: Et. Rey (1843), J.H. Allan (1843) including views of the surrounding area,  J. Skene (1838-45), J.d’ Estourmel (1848) as well as Ch.C. Frankland (1829) and Ch. MacFarlane (1829). In addition, the port of Smyrna is mapped in the port index by J. Roux (1804).  

In the same period, views of Miletus and Ephesus are included in “Gréce” by F.C.H.L. Pouqueville (1835). Pouqueville is the author of one of the most systematic works on the geomorphology of continental Greece. For “Grèce” he used illustrations already published in earlier influential travel accounts. To the same period belong the drawings by Eug. Peytier (1829-32, 1833-45) and views of Smyrna and is outskirts in the Album by R. Walsh / Th. Allom (1836-38). Military officers, itinerant traders and scenes of everyday life are depicted, albeit somewhat awkwardly, in the plates created by the painter Lachaise (1821). Albums with views of cities and snapshots of everyday life of the inhabitants remained popular during the 19th century and responded to the reading public's demand for images and scenes from the East. (J. Schranz, c. 1850). The popular watercolours of A. Preziosi (1852-57) show costumes and human types of the Ottoman Empire. They stand apart from similar works of the same period thanks to the vivid colours, original poses and lively expressions.   The artistic magazines of the 19th century also published plates with views of significant monuments of the East, accompanied by thorough explanatory texts. They sold well, and aimed both at entertaining and educating the public (M. Busch, 1869).

The Album of 1984 includes rare and very interesting wood engravings taken from the  pioneering weekly review  “The Illustrated London News” (1842-1885) and the similarly themed magazine “The Graphic” (1869-1885). The plates depict locations, people and events (political, social and military), from 1842 to 1885.

In his “Asie mineure: description géographique, historique et archéologique des provinces et des villes de la Chersonnèse d'Asie” (here in 1882 reedition) Ch. Texier presented the outcome of his tour of Asia Minor and systematized all hitherto available knowledge on geography, history and archaeology of the region. Views of several locations and antiquities from Smyrna, Ephesus, Teos and Didyma form part of in this work.

Women and their costume have always been an attractive subject of representation. A female costume from Smyrna is found in the edition by A. De La Mottraye (1727, also in the edition by F. Argenti , 1953). There are also the enchanting human figures in the colour lithographs by Fr.A.A. Goupil-Fesquet (1843), typical of orientalist aesthetics, and a reprint of a painting on a similar subject (1838-42) in the album by G. Patieridis / K. Stamatis. The French cartoonist H.L. Avelot (1899) made original sketches  of people and scenes of everyday life, and created a highly innovative material which pushed other artists to create similar illustrations inspired from their travels.

In the early 20th century there is a wealth of images, mainly from Smyrna, due to the political and military events which took place in Asia Minor and the expansion of photography: L. Launay in 1915, Ew. Banse, in 1919 and also P. Jeancard in 1919, as well as Fr. Fr. Boissonnas (1919) with rare photographs of the city before the Destruction of 1922.

Written by Ioli Vingopoulou